With the spring coming into full session and the quarter looming to an end, last weekend brought the NCAA baseball regionals to Corvallis, as well as some of the top high school basketball programs from the region. Some of the notable programs that gathered at Gill Coliseum (and the practice facilities), were Lake Oswego High School (OR), Crater High School (OR), Clackamas (OR) and Mount Si (WA), which all serve as regular starting points for Oregon State basketball’s recruiting approach.
Among all of the pandemonium, Nathan Bittle (Crater HS) and Ben Gregg (Clackamas HS) duked it out during bracket play on the final day of the camp, with Clackamas edging out Crater 31-30. Bittle’s towering 6’11” height came into play during the match-up, as he altered several shots and made it difficult for his counterpart, Gregg, to shoot over him. Bittle also showed off his passing ability throughout the day, finding multiple teammates in key areas for crucial buckets.
But Gregg had some answers as well, using his silky smooth demeanor to go around his taller opposition and find holes in the defense. Gregg put on a display of skills and showed why Paul Biancardi ranked him number 30 on the ESPN 60 for 2021 high school recruits.
While the two players individually may have dueled to a draw, the final moments of the game were the deciding factor in Clackamas’ victory. Clackamas left the door ajar by missing the front-end of a one-and-one with 4.9 seconds, and as expected, it was Bittle who grabbed the rebound and heaved up a three-pointer at the buzzer that missed off iron.
The eventual champions of the team camp tournament would go on to be Mount Si High School (WA), who defeated Clackamas (OR) in the championship game. Last season, Mount Si burst onto the scene in the state of Washington, after making an impressive run through the WIAA 4A playoffs, before falling to Gonzaga Prep in the state title clash.
The news of Mount Si claiming reign over the field should be a positive sign for Beavers fans, as after the tournament, Oregon State chose to offer their 2020 guard, Jabe Mullins.
Mullins is a 6’6” talent who has a strong inside play for a guard, to go along with his consistent jumper and overall strong ball handling skills. He held his own against Wildcat commit Nico Mannion, as their teams squared off last season in the Ranch Mirage Holiday Classic.
Another Oregon State recruit that was in Corvallis this past weekend was Darius Gakwasi of Central Catholic (OR).
Gakwasi has been known on the high school circuit since he was a freshman for the Rams, as this season he was a strong cog in the Central Catholic team that made it to Chiles Center in University of Portland for the 6A OSAA State Playoffs. He is a silky smooth guard that has a nice mid-range game with an impressive ability to go to the basketball and the ability to find open teammates seemingly out of nowhere.
After visiting campus last season, it’s clear that Gakwasi is on the program’s radar, despite the Beavers not yet shelling out an offer to him. With two years still to go in his prep career, the development of the rising talent will go on to determine his future status at the Division I level, but he surely made his mark in Corvallis. Gakwasi dropped 20 points against the nationally-ranked University School and future Duke Blue Devil Vernon Carey, in a game that the Rams held the lead for most of the competition.